We have just a few days left of the first decade of the 21st century, unless you’re one of those sticklers who maintains that the century actually started in 2001, which makes you exactly two things: a pain in the ass, and right. Whatever the case, though, we’re now at the time of the year of obsessive listmaking, and people try to encapsulate 2009, as well as the entire Naughty Oughties, in list form. City Pages actually got a bit of a jump on it last week with a series of “year in music” best of lists, including a summary, a “best albums of,” and a list of truly wretched lyrics, including this doozy from 3OH!: “Shush girl/Shut your lips/Do the Helen Keller/ And talk with your hips“; we at Daily Glean rewatched “The Miracle Worker” just to confirm, and there is no scene in which Helen Keller talks with her hips.
This keen year in review list is done as a Google Wave presentation, and includes the video in which Minnesota couple Jillian Peterson and Kevin Heinz boogie down the aisle, which went viral enough last year to be duplicated in NBC’s “The Office.” In the meanwhile, Regrettheerror.com published a list of “The Year in Media Errors,” which revisited a rather remarkable correction run in the Minnesota Daily, which included “Carlson admitted he had lied about officiating tennis in the Beijing Olympics, and had also lied about growing up in England and having a personal connection to the Clintons. Hillary Clinton never shared her crème brulee torte with him.” Also mentioned was the New York Times photo collection “Ruins of the Second Gilded Age,” which purported to be documentary photographs of incomplete building projects, but the photos turned out to have been extensively manipulated. It was a Minnesotan, Adam Gurno, who caught the trickery.
City Pages points out another list — primarily because they’re on it: It’s the 11 weirdest stories of the year from Fark.com, a site the specializes in online weirdness. The story referenced is about a Minnesota father who spoke only Klingon to his child for the child’s first three years. It’s probably worth mentioning that City Pages didn’t break this story — the Minnesota Daily did; it also might be worth noting that, far from being the weirdest story of 2009, it’s the weirdest story from 1996, which was the year the boy actually turned 3.
Newsweek provides a decade-in-review mash-up — in seven minutes, and the big Minnesota moment is John McCain’s introduction of Sarah Palin at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, which is looking as though it may be one of the defining moment of the next decade.
But, even if you aren’t one of those who thinks we have another year left before the next decade, perhaps all these lists are premature — after all, the year hasn’t ended yet, and news is still being made. Never mind the health care reform vote scheduled for Christmas Eve, thanks in part to Michele Bachmann, this might be the year that the War on Christmas is finally won. The Minnesota Independent points out a Think Progress piece about the congresswoman co-sponsoring legislation that “strongly disapproves of attempts to ban references to Christmas and expresses support for the use of these symbols and traditions by those who celebrate Christmas.” Think Progress is taken with the irony of the legislation, as it comes a mere eight weeks after House Minority Leader John Boehner lambasted House Democrats for wasting representatives’ time with frivolous bills.
One more Bachmann item, this time via City Pages, which comes with a sneering headline: “Crop subsidy data suggests Michele Bachmann is a welfare queen.” City Pages points out one of Bachmann’s more recent musing about communism: On her blog she extensively quoted a Powerline piece claiming that the Pilgrim’s experience in America really took off when they abandoned communal farming. “We’ve had our own modern day fling with great society welfare state policies. And after trillions and trillions spent we’ve purchased neither more personal industry or frugality,” Bachmann concludes. But City Pages points out that Bachmann herself has a family farm, and there is just a whiff of socialism connected to it, at least as Bachmann defines it, as TruthDig has uncovered that the farm “received $251,973 in federal subsidies between 1995 and 2006.” By Daily Glean’s count, using some very rough math and based on an average insurance cost of $2,985 per person per year, Bachmann’s farm subsidies could have paid for 84 people’s health insurance. Sometimes it seems the unspoken definition of socialism is “tax money that somebody else gets.”
Bachmann isn’t the only Minnesota politician who is spending her time in public talking of Christianity and taxes: Newsweek interviewed Tim Pawlenty and asked him about Creationism, as quoted by Minnesota Public Radio’s Tom Scheck; Pawlenty’s answer doesn’t really answer anything, except to make the case that he is, in fact, super Christian: “Well, you know I’m an evangelical Christian. I believe that God created everything and that he is who he says he was. The Bible says that he created man and woman; it doesn’t say that he created an amoeba and then they evolved into man and woman. But there are a lot of theologians who say that the ideas of evolution and creationism aren’t necessarily inconsistent; that he could have ‘created’ human beings over time.” MinnPost’s Blois Olson, by the way, predicted that Pawlenty’s identification as an evangelical Christian would start to come to the forefront on the national stage, even though it has never been a prominent part of his political identity before. On what may be a related note, or an unfair note, depending on your viewpoint, Baird Helgeson of the Star Tribune’s Hot Dish Politics blog quotes gubernatorial hopeful R.T. Rybak describing Pawlenty as “one of the most cynical political people I’ve seen in a long time.”
In sports: Reuters looks at Sunday’s “heated exchange” between Brett Favre and coach Brad Childress, and finds two people who aren’t willing to admit they yelled at each other during a game, with the two men not even being able to settle on the relatively mild descriptor “heated”: “There was pretty good communication going on back and forth. I didn’t see it as a heated,” says Childress; “There was a little heated discussion I guess you could call it,” says Farve.